- Joint Program Report
MIT Joint Program research assistant Arun Singh, a master’s degree student in the Institute for Data, Systems and Society’s Technology and Policy Program (TPP), has analyzed climate policy options for India by building and applying a model of the Indian economy with detailed representation of the electricity sector.
Developed with his advisors, MIT Sloan School of Management Assistant Professor Valerie Karplus and MIT Joint Program Principal Research Scientist Niven Winchester, the model enables researchers to gauge the cost-effectiveness and efficiency of different technology and policy choices designed to transition India to a low-carbon energy system. Singh used the model to assess the economic, energy, and emissions impacts of implementing India’s Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) to the Paris Agreement — which aims to reduce carbon dioxide emissions intensity by 33 to 35 percent from 2005 levels and increase non-fossil based electric power to about 40 percent of installed capacity by 2030.
Singh determined that compared to a no-policy scenario in 2030, the average cost per unit of emissions reduced is lowest under a carbon dioxide (CO2) pricing regime. Adding a renewable portfolio standard (RPS) to simulate electricity capacity targets increases the cost by more than ten times. Projected electricity demand in 2030 decreases by 8% under the CO2 price, while introducing an RPS further suppresses electricity demand. Importantly, a reduction in the costs of wind and solar power induced by favorable policies may result in cost convergence across instruments, paving the way for more aggressive decarbonization policies in the future.